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Spanning several decades and three continents, Modoc is one of the most amazing true animal stories ever told. Raised together in a small German circus town, a boy and an elephant formed a bond that would last their entire lives, and would be tested time and again; through a near-fatal shipwreck in the Indian Ocean, an apprenticeship with the legendary Mahout elephant trainers in the Indian teak forests, and their eventual rise to circus stardom in 1940s New York City. Modoc is a captivating true story of loyalty, friendship, and high adventure, to be treasured by animal lovers everywhere.
When Ralph Helfer, now one of Hollywood's top animal behaviorists, first began working, he was shocked by the cruelty that was accepted practice in the field. He firmly believed in "affection training" -- that love, not fear, should be the basis of any animal's development, even when dealing with the most dangerous of creatures. Then Zamba came into his life -- an adorable four-month-old lion cub that went on to prove Helfer's theories resoundingly correct. Over the next eighteen years, Zamba would thrive and grow, and go on to star in numerous motion pictures and television shows -- all the while developing a deep and powerful bond of love and affection with the man who raised him. By turns astonishing, hilarious, and poignant, Zamba is not only the unforgettable story of the relationship that Helfer would come to consider one of the most important in his life but also that of the amazing career and adventures of the greatest lion in the world.
They are major stars who do not speak a word onscreen, yet are world famous for their compelling performances. Who are they? The animal stars of the big screen, of course! In The Beauty of the Beasts, Ralph Helfer shares with the reader his love of animals and his work with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars: Clarence the Cross‐Eyed Lion, Gentle Ben, the Schlitz Malt Liquor Bull, Clint Eastwood’s orangutan sidekick Clyde, and many more. Helfer shares his philosophy on training these beautiful beasts to do amazing feats and maximize their acting potential without coercion. Join Ralph Helfer in his exploration of animal acting and read of his masterful use of TLC to work with these phenomenal, non‐human actors.
Tells the true story of a boy's devotion to a beloved circus elephant and the ordeals they endured to stay together.
Against the backdrop of a glittering but brutal circus world, Carol Bradley's Last Chain on Billie charts the history of elephants in America, the inspiring story of the Elephant Sanctuary and the spellbinding tale of a resilient elephant who defied the system even as she struggled to conquer her past, who never lost sight of the life she was meant to have. Left in the wild, Billie the elephant would have spent her days surrounded by family, free to wander the jungles of Asia. Instead, traders captured her as a baby and shipped her to America, where she learned to carry humans, stand on a tub and balance on one leg – the full repertoire of elephant tricks. For decades, Billie crisscrossed the country, dazzling audiences as she performed breathtaking stunts. But behind the scenes she lived a life of misery: traveling in trucks, chained for hours on end, barely able to move, giving eight-minute performances under harsh lights and to the sounds of blaring music. And worse.Finally, she got a lucky break. As part of the largest elephant rescue in American history, Billie wound up at a sanctuary for performing elephants in Tennessee, able once more to roam through open meadows and share her days with a herd. She would never be beaten again. But, overcome with anxiety, she withdrew from the rest of the elephants and refused to let anyone remove a chain still clamped around her leg. Her caregivers began to wonder if Billie could ever escape her emotional wounds. The compelling story of Billie's battle to reclaim her old self is a testament to the intelligence, emotional complexity and remarkable strength of all elephants, captive or free.
From the creators of The World's Greatest Elephant comes the real-life story of the MGM Studios Lion. Perhaps the most recognizable Hollywood animal--outside of Lassie--is "Leo the Lion," MGM Studios' famous mascot. For decades his image introduced hundreds of motion pictures, and Zamba the lion acted in dozens more. But he wasn't always a Hollywood star, and he certainly proved to be much more. This real-life story of Zamba, told by world-renowned animal behaviorist Ralph Helfer and Caldecott Honor recipient Ted Lewin, follows the famous lion from an orphaned cub in Africa to iconic Hollywood actor. But Zamba's greatest role wasn't scripted and it certainly wasn't captured on film. In 1969, the canyon that housed Ralph Helfer's animal ranch was ravaged by floods. As death claimed many of the animals, dozens were led to safety by one heroic lion. Zamba's story, beautifully told and illustrated, is one that will entertain and inspire--both cubs and lions.

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